Do you want to be part of a fast-growing industry that’s proven it can withstand economic and geopolitical storms, including global pandemics?
You might want to join the ranks of ecommerce companies, and create an online store. According to Statista, retail ecommerce sales in the United States alone are projected to rise to more than $476 billion by 2024.
In 2020, penetration for ecommerce businesses is 77.3%. This means that around that many users in the U.S. are shopping online somewhere. While leaders such as Amazon are at the forefront of this charge, business owners of all sizes and types have a place in this market, which is still growing. By 2024, user penetration is expected to reach more than 82%.
Those are some fairly technical numbers, but the takeaway is simple: The majority of people are shopping online at least some of the time. An ecommerce website is a great way to connect with these large numbers of consumers, but how do you become a successful ecommerce store such as Natori or Burrow?
You might start with an ecommerce course to ensure you have the knowledge and skills to make this dream happen. Technology is making it increasingly easier for anyone to launch their own business online, but you do still need to know about taxes, shipping, fulfillment, payment gateways, how to build an ecommerce team, and many other details.
Find out more about choosing the right courses below to ensure you have everything you need to succeed.
Why Take an Ecommerce Course?
Ecommerce courses can provide information about the basics, as well as new advances, straight from people who have learned the ropes, made the mistakes, and come out on top after a lot of trial and error.
Whether you’re just starting an online store or you’re ready to take the next step in using your ecommerce platform to connect with more customers, ecommerce training can be an ideal way to move forward.
1. Learn new skills and advance old ones.
The great thing about online courses in this space is that they meet so many needs. Whether you need a crash course in Ecommerce 101 to help you understand the basics or you’re ready to advance in certain areas of business strategy, such as SEO or content marketing, you can find a course that’s right for you.
These classes, which run the gamut from free courses to paid workshops, can help you learn new skills, such as how to use tools like Magento and WordPress. They can also help intermediate or advanced online business owners build on skills they already have, such as advancing your social media marketing and Facebook ads prowess.
The truth is that a small-to-midsize business owner launching into or managing a site in the ecommerce world needs a lot of skills — and so do their staff. Ecommerce courses help you develop the necessary skills, whether it’s online advertising and marketing, independent design basics, product management, or digital customer service.
2. Make potential business connections.
Ecommerce courses can also be a great way to network. Both the instructors and your potential classmates may have something to offer, whether that’s mentorship, future business partnerships, or simply friends you can discuss ideas with.
Starting a digital business can be isolating, especially as you launch and grow your online store. You might start your company from home, and that can mean reduced human interaction, which leaves you at risk for creative and social stagnation.
An ecommerce course opens doors for more human interaction — even if you’re still working from home or a small office with a limited number of employees.
Things to Look for in Beneficial Ecommerce Courses
Taking the wrong ecommerce courses won’t provide the benefits you need. And in all cases, you want a course that’s high-quality.
When you’re looking for ecommerce courses, start by determining what you want to learn. Do you need help with email marketing, Google Analytics, or social media marketing? You’ll want to look for courses that list those things in their descriptions.
Once you find courses that are teaching the skills and knowledge you want to obtain, consider whether they meet your requirements with regard to the factors below.
1. Reputable instructor.
Ensure that you’ll be learning from someone who knows what they’re talking about. They should have documented knowledge or experience. Some things to look for include:
- A relevant degree from an accredited university. Business, marketing, sales, or even web design degrees might be relevant. But something like a biology or literature degree would likely be irrelevant.
- The person has real-world experience. They have run or been involved with successful ecommerce businesses.
- The instructor has other credentials, such as Adobe certifications, that prove they have skills in a specific area.
Don’t just take the course listing at face value when it says the instructor is an expert. Read reviews for the course to determine if other people were satisfied with the level of information and expertise.
Understand the price of the course, and what you’re getting for the money you pay. Ecommerce is appealing to many because it’s a business venture with a potential low start-up cost, and you can find free or low-cost webinars that provide step-by-step information on how to get started. But, you should also be willing to pay for higher-cost courses that provide very specific skills you’ve been unable to learn elsewhere.
3. Access to course documents.
Make sure you’ll have access to the course documents, including digital books, presentations, slides, checklists, and other materials after you’re done with the course. The human brain can only focus on and take in so much information at a time, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to remember everything you learn in a course.
Even if you take meticulous notes, an ecommerce course might be technical and include numerous diagrams, charts, or other materials that are difficult to record in handwritten or typed notes. The ability to reference these materials as you put your new knowledge to work can be invaluable.
8 Best Ecommerce Courses to Try in 2020
With so many options available, it can be difficult to pick a course to start with. If you’re spinning your wheels trying to decide where to put your money or time resources, we can help. We’ve done the research and come up with a list of 9 top ecommerce courses for 2020. We’ve divided them into three categories to help you find one that works best for you:
- General ecommerce courses
- Ecommerce marketing courses
- Ecommerce dropshipping courses
1. General ecommerce courses.
Start here if you’re new to ecommerce or have just launched a store but feel like a fish out of water. General ecommerce courses cover topics such as how to set up an online store, basic marketing strategies, and some best ecommerce practices anyone in the niche should know.
Ecommerce Masterclass: B2B Sales
Learn how to optimize your wholesale tools and processes from BigCommerce with this on-demand video series, and get set for a successful B2B journey.
- Cost: This series of on-demand videos is free, but requires registering.
- Course summary: This course covers everything from setting up a B2B portal, back office, and PIM to digital procurement and choosing the right suppliers. It also covers account management, B2B shipping, pricing and more.
- Who is the course right for? Whether you’re expanding your existing hybrid business or testing the waters of B2B for the very first time, this course is perfect for anyone looking to understand the nuances that separate this channel from B2C.
How to create, make, and build an online ecommerce store: Udemy
Make an online ecommerce store, design without coding, dropship, make logos, and create your own online business website.
- Cost: This Udemy course typically runs around $120, plus $60 for materials, although coupons often bring the price down to as little as $20, plus the cost of materials. These are purchased separately, so you do have some control over those expenses.
- Course summary: According to Udemy, once you complete the course, you’ll be able to build and customize a website, design a boutique online store with a logo, and sell items such as clothing and jewelry without stocking anything upfront.
- Who is the course right for? This course may be ideal for those wanting to enter the ecommerce arena in the area of boutique fashion, without spending a great deal of money to start their business.
Diploma in E-Business
Learn how to create a strong online business strategy.
- Cost: This is a free course from Alison.com, with about 6 to 10 hours of instruction.
- Course summary: The publisher of this course is listed as Google, and not surprisingly, the skills are Google-heavy. You’ll learn how to use Google Ads and Analytics, for example. But the 15 modules are fairly comprehensive, and start with some online marketing basics before moving into the technicalities of Google tools. The modules do include an assessment, and you can get a certificate showing you completed the course.
- Who is the course right for? This course is good for people who need more information about the role of Google tools in their business and how to use them, including both ecommerce business owners and staff.
Introduction to Ecommerce
Discover the basics of ecommerce infrastructure and communication.
- Cost: This is also a free course from Alison.com. It has about 2 to 3 hours of content.
- Course summary: This free course is akin to a 101 ecommerce class. It provides a brief overview of important concepts, such as ecommerce technology and security. You do get a certificate for completing the course.
- Who is the course right for? This course can serve as a high-level introduction to common challenges and considerations relevant to ecommerce businesses, making it a good option for someone just considering this niche.
2. Ecommerce marketing courses.
Ecommerce marketing courses are more about how to get the word out or engage new consumers online. The types of topics covered in these classes can range from general ecommerce marketing to specifics, such as Google SEO or using social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn for advertising.
Digital Marketing Specialization
Gain an understanding of core digital marketing concepts and how you can apply them to your own business.
- Cost: This is a free specialization from Coursera. You do have to enroll at certain times, as it’s taught somewhat like an online college class.
- Course summary: This specialization actually has seven courses, which include Marketing in a Digital World, Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals (two courses), Digital Media and Marketing Principles, Digital Media and Marketing Strategies, Marketing in an Analog World, and Digital Marketing Capstone.
- Who is the course right for? This series of courses may be ideal for anyone who has the time to spend on them and wants some in-depth information about digital marketing and branding from industry experts. The courses are part of the overall iMBA degree offered through the Illinois Master of Business Administration. The specialization does take up to 8 months to complete, working 5 hours per week.
Learn tips and tricks for attracting and converting more ecommerce store customers.
- Cost: This Hubspot Academy course is free for anyone who signs up.
- Course summary: This short course gives you a high-level look at ecommerce marketing and enforces the lessons learned with interactive quizzes. The information is provided via 10 short videos, ranging in length from a couple of minutes to around 10 minutes each.
- Who is the course right for? This is a great option for anyone who wants a crash course in ecommerce marketing in short sound bites. While it won’t provide anything in-depth, it does give you a jumping off point into further learning.
Ecommerce Marketing Mastery
Find out about all of the necessary marketing tools needed to run a successful ecommerce store.
- Cost: Tuition for this Digital Marketing course is $495, which includes a certificate of completion.
- Course summary: The course is around 4 hours long, with a recommended completion time of about one week. It includes 40 video lessons, multiple worksheets, and quizzes for each of the five modules. Topics covered include the ecommerce ecosystem and supporting technology, store architecture, how to optimize various aspects of your store, email automation, and some basics of content marketing and lead nurturing.
- Who is the course right for? This may be a good option for those who want a more technical look at how to integrate marketing specifically into an online store.
3. Ecommerce dropshipping courses.
Dropshipping courses concentrate on the ecommerce strategies and skills needed to succeed in dropshipping including online marketing and choosing the right partners.
Build an Ecommerce Dropshipping Empire by Scratch: Udemy
Hear about what it takes to build a dropshipping business.
- Cost: This Udemy course typically runs around $110, but discounts can bring the price as low as $15.
- Course summary: The course includes 8 hours of videos, 12 articles, and more than 30 resources you can download for use as you practice the skills learned. Topics covered include choosing products, setting up a website, working with suppliers, and sales and marketing tactics — all relevant specifically to dropshipping.
- Who is the course right for? This is another course that might be ideal for anyone who wants to start a dropshipping business, or add a dropshipping element to a current business.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Ecommerce Course
Finding the ideal ecommerce course that teaches the skills you need is only the first step. To get the most out of your course, be willing to put some extra effort in before and after you start.
1. Establish goals you want to achieve.
First, take some time to determine why you’re taking a course, and what you want to gain from it. If you only want to get a quick overview of a topic so you know whether it’s worth your time investing more effort, you’re going to take a different approach to learning that you would if you know you need to master the topic soon to support ongoing success.
It’s a good idea to start establishing your goals as you’re looking for online courses. You want to ensure the ecommerce learning opportunities you choose align with your personal and business goals.
Once you pick an appropriate course, plan ahead to ensure your goals are achieved. This might involve setting time aside when you can pay attention to the course in a quiet area or ensuring you have someone you can discuss the material with as you learn it.
Ultimately, know that you’ll get out of the course what you put into it.
2. Practice your new material.
Most of the material you might learn in an ecommerce workshop or online class isn’t like riding a bike. You can’t lay it down for weeks and then pick it back up and rely on muscle memory to do the rest.
This information is a lot more like math. It takes practice to ensure you really understand it, and if you don’t use the skills for a while, they’ll become rusty or even lost.
Plan to continue developing your skills outside of the course. If you’re actively working on your ecommerce site, this may not be something you have to work at. You may be implementing the new skills on a daily basis within your current workflow.
But, if you take a course to learn a specific skill, such as digital marketing, you might need to schedule time two to three times each week to practice that skill.
An ecommerce course can help you learn valuable skills and information, boosting the chances that your online shop is a success. If you’re already doing well, courses can provide you with the tools you need to grow or succeed even more.
Whether you’re looking for information on lead generation, search engine optimization, using eBay for ecommerce, or just general online business strategy, there’s a course for you. Investigate some of the best courses above or other options, and sign up to expand your knowledge today.